MIA responds to critics of her headlining the first UK edition of Afropunk Festival
When it was announced that Afropunk, Brooklyn’s world famous festival, would be coming to London for the very first time later this year, Londoners couldn’t contain their excitement. However, when it was revealed that MIA would be headlining, alongside Benjamin Booker, SZA, Ho99o9 and more, the decision was met with a mixed response online, with some even threatening to boycott the festival unless she is removed from the line-up.
BLACK LONDON TWITTER AM I LYING!?!?!?!?!?!? DOES THAT LINE UP REPRESENT BLACK AFROPUNK LONDON?— cecile emeke (@cecileemeke) June 19, 2016
So MIA will be headlining the Afropunk festival in London, while there are so many excellent Black British performers?! No thanks.— Makeda (@BlackJasiri) June 16, 2016
LOL at MIA headlining Afropunk.— The Last of the Igwe (@chidzhazenberry) June 15, 2016
Isn't Afropunk a celebration of alternative Africancentricity ?
Smh at AfroPunk having MIA headline a festival after her very anti-black comments which were VERY recent— Lawrence Burney (@TrueLaurels) June 15, 2016
It's sad. I wanted to go to Afropunk London but I cannot give them my coin & then see MIA on the stage. No. pic.twitter.com/bVHuJejSWD— Seyi Newell (@Seyi_Newell) June 15, 2016
MIA is headlining Afropunk London pic.twitter.com/BmCvdeq8lY— darkwaveduke (@_freduman) June 14, 2016
The criticism seems to stem from an interview MIA, who is of Sri Lankan heritage, did with The Evening Standard earlier this year, where she came under fire for seemingly undermining the Black Lives Matter movement. "It's interesting that in America the problem you're allowed to talk about is Black Lives Matter. Is Beyoncé or Kendrick Lamar going to say Muslim Lives Matter? Or Syrian Lives Matter? Or this kid in Pakistan matters? That's a more interesting question."
She later clarified those comments, denying that she was trying to attack the Black Lives Matter movement. "I'm not Muslim," she wrote. "My question was, on American platforms what do they allow you to stand up for in 2016?"
Now, following the backlash, MIA says she will no longer play her headline slot at Afropunk festival. “Sorry I’m not doin’ Afropunk,” she tweeted on 20 June. “I’ve been told to stay in my lane. Ha there is no lane for 65 million refugees who’s lanes are blown up! #nolanes”.
Sorry I'm not doin Afropunk. I've been told to stay in my lane. Ha there is no lane for 65mil refugees who's lanes are blown up! #nolanes— M.I.A (@MIAuniverse) June 20, 2016
It's not the first time my words have been twisted - when u see drones we don't think what's the colour of the person flying it? We c USA— M.I.A (@MIAuniverse) June 19, 2016
When I stand for people from all over the world - it's hard to say if anyone is more important then the other. Surly equality is key.— M.I.A (@MIAuniverse) June 19, 2016
Accusing me of racism is no better then being accused of terrorism - yet the number of people killed by Americans stamped wars continue ..— M.I.A (@MIAuniverse) June 19, 2016
If pulling the show saves the cause and lives then that's what I'll do.— M.I.A (@MIAuniverse) June 19, 2016
While the festival has yet to confirm her departure from the line-up, Azealia Banks has come to MIA's defense on Instagram, writing:
Leave M.I.A the fuck alone. You guys are idiots and have COMPLETELY missed the point of what she's trying to tell you. THIS IS A BLACK PERSON. SriLankans/Indians are BLACK. U guys keep for getting that black is not something we share as an ethnicity it's something we share as a GLOBAL STRUGGLE. Everything/Everyone that is on the opposite side of the Aryan/Christian/Zionist world supremacy agenda has been marked as BLACK. And has been marked FOR DEATH. This includes, Africans, Indians, African Americans, Arabs, Muslims, south East Asians, aboriginal people, ETC. you motherfuckers DONT GET IT. m.I.a is trying to explain this deeply complex idea to you all with examples of current events but the LIBERAL MEDIA has its dick so far down you sheeples throats that you can't even understand what she's saying. SHES TELLING YOU THAT HER PEOPLE ARE SUFFERING JUST AS OURS ARE. LEAVE MAYA THE FUCK ALONE AND LET HER DO HER PERFORMANCE. FOR FUCKS SAKE. (Ps: no one said Muslim is an ethnicity! Just like "black" isn't !)